Q: I have a 1978 Ford F-250 that I have owned for 30 years. My vision isn’t what it used to be and lately I’ve found myself struggling to see at night. I’m looking for replacement headlights that will improve my night driving safety.

A: Like so many other automotive advancements, lighting technology has come a long way since 1978. There are a couple of options available to improve your night driving experience.

The first thing we would recommend is to update your 40-year-old wiring.

Your Ford’s original headlight wiring is routed through a bulkhead connector and several switches before finally making its way to the headlights.

With this configuration, corroded connections and old wiring can create a drop of two volts—or more—at the headlights, significantly reducing light output. American Autowire’s Headlight Enhancement Relay Kit (AWW-500403) uses two relays (one each for high beam and low beam) that are activated by your high/low beam switch. It sources power directly from your battery, delivering full voltage to the headlights.

For replacement headlights, there are several sealed beam headlight conversion kits that fit your truck, most for under $100. These headlamps usually accept standard H4 bulbs and allow for a wide range of performance bulbs to be used (watch the wattage on these bulbs, as some are for off-road use only).

If you want to step up to the latest technology and style, check out Rigid Industries’ Truck-Lite Headlights.

These LED headlamps are DOT legal and produce a crisp pattern with bright, white light similar to daylight, which vastly improves projection distance and visibility. They are available with heated lenses that automatically activate under 50°F to melt snow and ice.

NOTE: Some conversion lights may require minor headlight bucket modifications for bulb clearance.

Author: Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews was a mechanic for the U.S. Army, a Ford dealership, and served for many years as a fleet mechanic for construction companies. Now a technical content producer at Summit Racing, Dave has spent decades working on everything from military vehicles to high performance race machines.